A tough category

As several have noted, the Legion’s best of 2006 is coming up soon, and while I can’t remember a lot of my personal winners from last year, one stands out in particular – my selection for “Best single issue.”

It was Wolverine #32, which I believe came right after Mark Millar’s long run of killing, zombifying and eventually restoring the lead lug. It was set in a concentration camp, and I think was supposed to be a tribute to the late Will Eisner. But it was a fantastic issue in which Wolverine was really just a background character (although an extremely important one).

The standalone single-issue story has pretty much fallen by the wayside in a comics era of writing for the trade. But this year has seen some fantastic single issue stories. I wrote previously about the absolute blast that was Superman / Batman Annual #1, and numerous members of the Legion have commented on Paul Dini’s amazing run on Detective Comics, which so far has been a series of single-issue stories.

But I have to say, as close as I was to not picking up the issue due to its Christmas theme and its transitional role between creative teams, Wolverine may take my vote two years in a row.

Yes, it’s a Christmas issue. Yes, Christmas issues usually favor temporal references and sentimentality over substance (see this week’s 52). Yes, it costs an extra dollar for what is apparently a bonus-sized issue. But it has some great characterization of Logan and a payoff that’s as abrupt as it is poignant (and not designed to simply show how “tough” Wolverine is, as some reviewers have claimed).

I’m not trying to sway the voting here – just saying if you are enjoying the single-issue renaissance of 2006, snag Wolverine #49 before Jeph Loeb makes the title “hot” again next month.